If you’re interested in working for Apple, there’s some good news: the company is looking for a broad range of tech skills. If you manage to score an interview and land a job, you’ll join a company in the midst of a huge transition—which is risky and exciting in equal measure.
Before we dig into the data, it’s worth taking a moment to examine Apple’s current state. Its hardware portfolio (the iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad) continues to drive the bulk of its revenue and profits, although CEO Tim Cook has begun emphasizing software and services more and more. In entering the services arena, though, Apple finds itself in something of an underdog position, competing against a variety of tech giants (including Amazon, Google, and Microsoft) that have spent years perfecting their streaming and cloud-based offerings.
Nor is everything totally business-as-usual on the hardware front. Over the next few years, Apple will transition its Macs to processors that it’s built in-house. By dumping Intel products in favor of ARM-based SoC (system-on-a-chip) architecture, Apple will have greater control over more of the Mac ecosystem—but it’s an open question whether that new silicon will deliver the necessary performance and compatibility, especially for the professionals who expect Mac to deliver an extraordinary amount of power for the price.
If that wasn’t enough, Apple needs to persuade developers to build more cross-platform apps that work for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. Those developers are also increasingly irate about Apple’s 30 percent cut of App Store sales, so Apple will need to figure out how to keep them happy on the revenue and workflow fronts.
It’s a lot to juggle. And with so much concentration on software and services, it’s no surprise that Apple has been keen on hiring software developers and engineers well ahead of other roles, including mechanical and hardware engineers. Check out this analysis from Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country; this breaks down Apple’s open technologist roles over the past 30 days:
One caveat here: This doesn’t include Apple’s contractors and subcontractors, which represent a significant percentage of Apple’s total workforce. We also excluded any jobs associated with Apple’s retail operations, which are massive.
When we break down the skills that pop up most often in Apple’s past month of job postings, we see something particularly interesting: A huge emphasis on Python, rather than Apple’s in-house languages such as Swift and Objective-C. Python is an immensely popular language used in a variety of applications, and Apple might use it quite a bit for internal platforms.
Another thing to call out: Machine learning and artificial intelligence (A.I.). Although Apple was one of the first consumer-focused tech companies to put out a widely used digital assistant (Siri), its innovations were quickly eclipsed by Amazon, which figured out how to make its own assistant (Alexa) popular and near-ubiquitous; Google also managed to make its voice-activated assistant a mainstay of its products.
Apple’s interest in A.I. and machine learning suggests that it’s not only interested in continuing to improve Siri (given the popularity of such assistants, it doesn’t really have a choice on that front), but also figuring out how to make its other services “smarter.” Although knowing popular skills such as Python and software-development best practices could put you in the running for many jobs at Apple, knowing your way around the intricacies of machine learning could make you an especially valuable candidate.